Future Reflections Convention 1994, Vol. 13 No. 4



National Federation of the Blind awards are not bestowed lightly. If an appropriate recipient does not emerge from the pool of candidates for a particular award, it is simply not presented. At the 1994 convention four awards were given: The Golden Keys Award, presented by the National Association to Promote the Use of Braille to Mr. Joseph E. Sullivan for his international work with computer translations from print to Braille and other efforts in bringing about a unified Braille code. The Distinguished Service Award (which is rarely given) was presented to Baltimore Federationist Doris Johnson for her dedicated volunteer service over the years. The Jacobus tenBroek Award recipient was Dr. Homer Page, president of the NFB of Colorado and an outstanding political and community leader in his state.

The fourth award was the Distinguished Educator of Blind Children Award. At the Sunday morning Board of Directors meeting Sharon Maneki, President of the National Federation of the Blind of Maryland and Chairwoman of the Distinguished Educator of Blind Children Selection Committee, presented that award. She said:

Good morning, fellow Federationists. We are truly changing what it means to be blind in the field of education. Gone are the days when students had to wait until high school, as many of us did, to get a white cane. The days when young blind children are taught to trail walls, slide their feet, shuffle, are still here, but they're going. And they are going because of the National Federation of the Blind, and they're going because of the recipient of this year's award.

Many of us already know this recipient because of his work as an orientation and mobility instructor. He works for the New Jersey Commission for the Blind. He is in his twenty-fourth year of teaching. While he works for the Commission, he really works for the interests of children. He has been working at this convention. Many of us have met him in the Parents Division and in the various workshops that he has conducted.

Ladies and gentlemen, the selection committee of Allen Harris, Fred Schroeder, Jacquilyn Billey, Joyce Scanlan, and me is truly pleased and honored to present Joe Cutter as the Distinguished Educator of Blind Children.[applause] I'd like to present Mr. Cutter with a plaque, which I would like to read.


The National Federation of the Blind
Joe Cutter
for your pioneering effort
in introducing
young children to the long white cane,
for promoting independence and
by encouraging your students
to explore their environment.
We highly commend you for your
positive attitude
toward blindness and for working
in partnership
with the organized blind movement

July, 1994
Congratulations, Mr. Cutter. [applause] And, of course, we have one more important thing to present you. This is a check for $500.[applause]

After Mr. Cutter accepted his plaque, he said:
This is a beautiful plaque, and it's a generous award. It's an honor to receive this award from the National Federation of the Blind. I have come to respect this organization for its clear information, its positive thinking, its can-do approach. Blind persons have provided me as a sighted person a quality education about blindness.

In New Jersey I've had the opportunity over the years to learn from blind children and their parents. For example, parents like Carol Castellano and Bill Cucco truly exemplify the philosophy of the NFB in their day-to-day lives-equality, opportunity, and security. And with them and their children Serena and John and the other parents and other blind children in New Jersey, I have learned; and somehow there is a correlation between becoming a learner and being a better teacher. Sometimes, as an itinerant going from homes to school, traveling in my car, it can be a bit lonely and precarious when you are traveling "the road less traveled." I accept this award, its support and encouragement for me to continue to travel this road; and I look forward in partnership with blind children, their parents, and the National Federation of the Blind to continuing to give the best I can offer. Thank you.